Englefield Painting
The History of Englefield

Englefield is named after the battle there between the Saxons and the Danes in AD 871. It is thought to mean "Englishman's battle field" or "Field of angels" becoming Englefield in time. The family who lived there were thought to have taken the name of the village and the Englefields were Sheriffs and Knights of the Shire throughout the Middle ages.

 

Sir Francis Englefield, a Catholic was made a Knight of the Carpet at the Coronation of King Edward VI. He became one the chief officers of the household of Princess Mary and when he continued to allow the Princess Mary to celebrate mass, he was imprisoned in the Tower for a short while in 1551.

 

On the accession of Queen Mary he was rewarded for his loyalty, and was made a Privy Councillor and remained in Parliament during her reign, we believe he completed the north east range of the house, including the Long Gallery.

On the accession of Elizabeth I, Sir Francis fled from England, and lived in exile in Spain for the remainder of his life, he was found to be negotiating with the King of Spain, and as a consequence he lost all his lands to the Crown after a long battle and a special Act of Parliament   Elizabeth then granted the manor of Englefield to her Spy Master General, Sir Francis Walsingham, which in turn was inherited by his daughter Frances Walsingham.

 

Frances married the Queen's favourite The Earl of Essex who was known to have made many changes at Englefield House.

After the Earl's fall from grace and execution for treason, Frances married the Earl of Clanricade and Englefield House was then thought to have been leased to Lord Norreys who entertained Queen Elizabeth in the Long Gallery in 1601.

Englefield then passed through several hands over the next few years, until in 1635 it was purchased by John Paulet, the 5th Marquis of Winchester for his wife Honora de Burgh the daughter of Frances Walsingham.

 

Their main residence was the great Tudor Palace of Basing House, nr Basingstoke, John Paulet is famous for his loyal defence of his home against the Parliamentary Armies between August 1643 and October 1645, Basing was eventually razed to the ground and John Paulet and his wife Lady Winchester were imprisoned in the Tower of London until the early 1650's.

The loss of their house at Basing meant that Englefield became his principal seat and on their release from the Tower the Paulet family settled at Englefield and the estate still remains in the same family
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For a more in depth history of Englefield please visit www.berkshirehistory.com